Most gardeners carefully plan the crops they’re going to plant thinking about the bounty it’ll bring. To really give your crops a boost, alongside this planning it’s worth thinking about the age old method of companion planting
First up, for those of you that aren’t sure of what it is we’ll explain. Companion planting is a method to get the best out of both vege and flower gardens. The idea is that certain plants when grouped together help each other out this can be by deterring pest insects, attracting beneficial insects, adding protection, improving growing conditions or even preventing the growth of other plants. It is a natural and highly practical way to better manage and balance the ecosystem in your garden since it increases biodiversity.
Many gardeners find with companion planting they can significantly reduce the need to spray and create a great mix of colour they wouldn’t otherwise have. It also encourages flowers to be mixed in with vegetables.
Be aware though that you can’t just plant everything together and get a good outcome. Some plants just simply don’t get along, take tomatoes and potatoes for example. And in some cases you’ll need to plant a lot of one thing to actually get a noticeable benefit.
Herbs and veges are a good place to start if you’re keen to have a go at companion planting. Plus you’ll likely be growing both anyway so why not group together.
Here’s some good matches to get you started:
- Basil – good with tomatoes, lettuce, capsicum. Attracts pollinators and repels flies and mosquitoes.
- Chives – helps apples, berries, tomatoes and roses. Deters aphids. Enhances rose fragrance.
- Dill – helps broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. It deters aphids and most other insect pests, plus stimulates growth. Not good with carrots.
- Parsley – good with roses and tomatoes.
- Oregano - deters many insects pests and a good all-round neighbour.
- Rosemary – advantageous for broccoli as repel slugs and snails.
- Coriander – deters aphids.
- Sage – great with celery as deters aphids.
- Tarragon & thyme – good with most crops. Thyme deters moths and tarragon is said to improve flavour.
Fruit & vegetables
- Carrots – good with leeks, onion and lettuce.
- Lettuce – good with carrots, beans, strawberries and beetroot.
- Apples – not good with potatoes.
- Brassica family (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale) – helps carrots, lettuce, potato.
- Allium family (leeks, onions, garlic, shallots) - helps to repel slugs, snails and aphids good alongside tomatoes, potatoes, brassicas and carrots.
- Potatoes – good with beans, squash, sweet corn, cauliflower and cabbage.
- Pumpkin - likes beans and cabbage.
- Asparagus - not a fan of garlic and onions.
- Marigold, marjoram – deters whitefly and good for all crops
- Nasturtium attracts caterpillars and aphids and so helps keep them away from your crops.
- Lemon Balm - attracts bees and improve the growth of all vegetables, especially tomatoes.
- Sunflowers – help shade cucumbers and squash.
- Borage – great with strawberries as encourages growth and also repels mosquitos.